Strauss Fledermaus Overture Program Notes
Strauss’s Fledermaus has a convoluted plot with many comedic opportunities. Prince Orlofsky is throwing a ball (in the original version it was to be a New Year’s party), and there are all sorts of ploys at hand. The character Falke is trying to visit revenge on his friend, Eisenstein, who, in the night of a costume party, had left Falk, drunk and disoriented, in the center of town. Falk was dressed as a bat, thus the operetta’s title. Conspiring with Eisenstein’s wife, Falk has arranged for her to attend the ball disguised as an alluring Hungarian noblewoman. Eisenstein is completely enchanted, haplessly so. Near the end of the party, the clock strikes six AM (who goes to such parties?!) which we hear, anticipated in the overture, and Eisenstein has to rush off to serve a prison sentence, since he had insulted a minor official...it’s a complicated plot, but ends with forgiveness for all.